Environmentalists fighting Venture Global want U.S. EPA to get involved

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:53 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A coalition of environmental groups wants the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to get involved in stopping alleged pollution violations at Venture Global LNG in Cameron Parish.

The groups say they lack confidence in the State Department of Environmental Quality. Venture Global denies the environmentalist’s accusations.

Environmental groups have been reviewing Venture Global LNG’s monitoring reports given to state DEQ. They found more than 2,000 violations in the company’s first year of operations.

Anne Rolfes is the director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

“We should all be offended that this company from out of our state is coming here and using us as a dumping ground because their reports make it very clear that they don’t have any regard for people here in Louisiana,” she said.

Venture Global’s spokesperson denies the allegations saying they have complied with their air permit and those exceedances was mostly from startup activities.

Rolfes says they have gone way beyond their limits.

“It is just really word games and manipulation because they have actually asked the State of Louisianan to increase their permits and to magically transform these violations into acceptable limits,” Rolfes said.

She says they are asking EPA to get involved because they fear Louisianan DEQ will just rubber stamp what the company wants.

“The equivalent is if I’m driving in a 60-mile-per-hour zone, but I’m going 80-miles-per-hour and the police officer pulls me over and I ask, ‘Oh, could you just raise the speed limit to 80?’ and he does. That’s what Venture Global is trying to make happen here,” Rolfes said.

DEQ spokesperson Greg Langley said the alleged violations are under review and that any action addressing them will be in their EDMS online system. If appropriate, he said they will coordinate reviews with EPA.

For more details on the pollution allegations and responses review the links provided.

Environmentalists’ letter to EPA.

The following is a on the record, attributable to Shaylyn Hynes, Venture Global Spokeswoman:

“Venture Global LNG holds itself to the highest standards of environmental compliance and reporting. Unsurprisingly, this letter is sensational and filled with misinformation, most egregiously that Calcasieu Pass was out of compliance with our air permit for 83% of 2022 which is grossly inaccurate. Venture Global Calcasieu Pass has been in full compliance with its annual air permit emission limits, including with respect to flaring. Venture Global is making a new request to LDEQ because we are required to renew our air permit every five years. The emissions increases Calcasieu Pass has requested are to safely operate the facility during short-term situations.

As required by LDEQ, Calcasieu Pass also files semi-annual monitoring reports on its air emissions. Calcasieu Pass determined there were intermittent exceedances of certain maximum hourly limits that had not been previously reported, none of which were associated with flaring at the plant. Most of our reported exceedances are associated with commissioning. As with many facilities, commissioning activities may result in temporary exceedances in emissions. As always, we strive to be as transparent as possible with our regulators and Calcasieu Pass self-reported this error and submitted a revised semiannual report for the first half of 2022. There were no violations of the underlying control standards in 2022, and there were no exceedances of annual emission limits for any permitted source.

The Bucket Brigade asserts that our second report to LDEQ is worse, this is also false. While deviations are not unusual for a plant under commissioning, we have since made process improvements to minimize errors moving forward. This is reflected in the most recent semi-annual report for the second half of 2022 that has been submitted to LDEQ. We will continue to build on these improvements during the remainder of commissioning and future operations.”